Montgomery’s 187th Fighter Wing recently gave a gift to the community — the Red Tails Over Montgomery Air Show.
Montgomery’s Dannelly Field hosted the Red Tails Over Montgomery Air Show in September. Festivities for the more than 20,000 guests included aerial demonstrations from the Air Combat Command F-22 Demonstration Team and Heritage Flight along with an on-ground display of the F-35, the aircraft that will soon call Montgomery its home. Lt. Col. Charles P. Griggs, director of September’s show, reflected on the event.
How long did the air show take to plan?
Intense planning and coordination started in April, with meetings that included our wing leadership, as well as external agencies such as the Montgomery Airport Authority, the Montgomery Police Department, and the City of Montgomery. It was incredible to see thousands of hours of hard work culminate into one day.
What stood out at the show?
The F-22 Demonstration Team did not disappoint! They are always a crowd pleaser with their breathtaking display of the capabilities of pilots and jets. I’ll add that our unit members were stars throughout the day. We had more than 750 workers— I was very honored to be a small part of a great team effort.
What role did the Montgomery community play?
The community was so supportive of us during the run up to the decision to award the F-35 back in December. It was a true community effort, and the decision makers certainly got the message loud and clear before making their decision to award the jet to the 187th Fighter Wing. We also had tremendous support from River Region partners, including the City of Montgomery, the County, Montgomery PD and more than 30 sponsors.
In what ways did the event give back to the community?
One of the purposes of the air show was to give the community a glimpse of the past, present and future of the Alabama Air National Guard. They helped us celebrate the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen “Red Tails,” which we are very proud to honor. By creating awareness of the overall mission of the Alabama Air National Guard, we hope to provide more opportunities in aviation career fields for potential new members.
What feedback have you received? I’ve had countless retirees, wing members and civilian guests tell me it was a great event. We actually ran a post-event survey on the day following the show to gather feedback. On a scale of 1-5, no area was rated less than a 4. We have some great information going forward that will help us improve. We will probably have our next full show in 2021.